The United States has approved Riyadh's announcement of an end to the refueling of his aircraft, used to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, believes it is self-sufficient. She called on the United States to stop refueling its aircraft, the official Saudi office announced on Saturday.
"The kingdom and the coalition recently expanded their ability to attend independent air-to-air tanks in Yemen"says the official SPA news agency. "As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition called for the stopping of aid during the flight refueling for its operations in Yemen." Saudi Arabia and other coalition members, supporting forces loyal to the Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, "Are constantly working to improve their military professionalism and self-reliance"says the Saudi office.
Hours later, Washington confirmed Riyadh's announcement. "We support the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to use the Coalition's own military capacities, after consultation with the US government, to refuel fuel during the flight to support its operations in Yemen"US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement issued in Washington.
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Deadly battles in Hodeida
After the failure in September of a UN mediation to reach a political settlement, the coalition announced the resumption of the attack on the strategic port of Hodeida, in western Yemen, of 1st November. The struggle to recapture Hodeida from the rebels – who have been in charge of the city since 2014 – threatens the peace efforts of the United States and the UN, which hopes to hold talks by the end of the year.
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The fighting in this strategic city was particularly deadly on Friday, with strong resistance from Houthi rebels who tried by all means to delay the progress of pro-government troops. For the first time on Thursday, Loyalist troops, supported by Saudi air raids, entered the city where they moved a few kilometers from the south and east to the port. Houthi rebels, whose leader promised that his men would fight to the end, intensified their counterattacks to slow their advance.
The fighting of the past 24 hours in Hodeida left 110 dead behind the rebels, according to medical sources. A military leader of loyalist forces reported 22 deaths among pro-government fighters. This new record provides 382 the number of hunters on both sides who have been killed since 1st November.
"The Coalition Command expresses the hope that the forthcoming UN-led negotiations in a third country will lead to a negotiated settlement" conflict, also reports SPA. The coalition "Hope there will be an end to the aggression of Iran-backed Houthi militias against the Yemeni people and against countries in the region, including the threat of ballistic missiles and drones".